Agriculture....

"Agriculture is the Backbone of our Nation"

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Reggae in the Mountains

“No people can make their full contribution to life of the nation to which they owe allegiance unless they possess and enjoy those few fundamental prerequisites to rendering their participation in the affairs of their country both possible and significant. The growth of a people is complex and interrelated. Man must be educated. He cannot come into grips with or cope with or understand the modern world unless he has been taught about it. He must be assured of a minimum economic security: he cannot concern himself with matters going beyond the day to day satisfaction of his physical needs unless he is fed and clothed and sheltered, nor can he acquire a sufficient degree of social consciousness to be able to subordinate his own personal interests to the good of the nation and the development of its society. Freedom, Liberty, the rights of man - these mean little to the ignorant, the hungry, the ill-clothed and the badly housed.” H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Ever thankful for LIFE.

Hoping this finds you, Dear Reader, very well.

First off, is to thank all of you who took up our invitation from our last post, and attended our last event in the physical. It is always good to link up, for the countenance of one brightens another’s. To all those who stand with the same principals of freedom and a higher natural living, including ones we have not been granted to meet in person yet, MAINTAIN!

A solemn moment of thanksgiving
The seventh day of December witnessed the members of the H.I.M Negus Shiriki C.B.O come out to the public, to allow more access for people to share the warmth of interaction and  natural wisdom. It was part of the continued materialization of our endeavors to reach to our community. This with a view to stimulating considerations as to how we can all unshackle ourselves from oppressive labors and live a more fulfilling life. We were joined by family, more volunteers and community workers, community members of all ages, as well as government officials.

The area government administrator representing
The event, dubbed Reggae in the Mountains and themed ‘Ukulima na Maendeleo’ (Agriculture and Development) took place at the Gakoigo Showgrounds, a government facility where public events such as national holidays, agriculture fairs, soccer matches and such are held.  The process of obtaining the facilities took us through the whole compliment of government hierarchy. All of them were happy with what we are doing to serve our community, and we were well attended to. For we are aware that successful community development is in effect a partnership between the people and the government. The people identify their need and commence on their efforts to fulfill them. The government joins in to support through infrastructure, expertise and other forms of representation.

The advertising poster
The build up to the event presented the volunteers with the opportunity to move to far reaches of the region to sensitize the people. These were useful excursions, giving opening to pledges towards visiting our farm. Some of these pledges are already bearing fruit.

Our intention was to gather the people through music vibes, and in this forum share with them the different aspects of our work. Through live performances, poetry, Dj mixing and a speech or two (strictly) we sought to express some of the inescapable truths facing us. Agriculture as the backbone to our survival, the power of collective security, the courage to stand for, and if ever need be, lose our physical bodies to ensure that our fellow man, creatures and creation as a whole moves free.

Distinguished in their dignity, the volunteers, in the true manner of an organized nation, represented the different departments. Agriculture, art, music, media and information and holistic living were among the fields showing.

The agriculture department showcased the fullness of the earth. There was a splendor of harvest dripping from the tables, a marvel in its lusciousness. Banana, including a rare red indigenous variety, whose seed we are re-establishing was prominent. As well, there was cassava, sugarcane, sorghum, lemongrass, oranges, zucchini, pineapple, avocado, spinach, cloves, coconut, and cinnamon to mention but a few. All naturally grown.

Natural vitals
The arts were represented in a most colorful display. On exhibition were sandals, clothing items, paintings, ornaments and jewellery, mosaics and more. It is ultimately satisfying to affirm that the people, and especially the youth can actually realize their economic sustenance from utilizing their art skills. It proves that the avenues for self-reliance are wide open. It is subsequently appropriate to nurture quality and then to support the same through purchasing local.
Art display
One of the main highlights of the occasion was the food table, where the Shiriki volunteers not only served up a feast, but also valuable education on nutrition and health. From the naturally grown variety, we offered banana cakes, cassava chapati, arrow root bhajia, boiled sweet potatoes, numerous fruit, and herb teas brewed in an African pot on the spot. Alternatively, you could chew on a piece of sugarcane or heal with fruit and vegetable juices.

The satiation
There was a rich library of published material dealing with various pertinent topics; wisdom of ages, natural living, organic farming, herbal healing and practical skill. In addition, the attendants were able to share tips on issues affecting our ecosystems and environment in general, even take a tree seedling home.
Some took time to gather knowledge
Music was served up by the lively Jah Living Fire Crew, Djs and mike chanters. Rarely is serious business presented in such a palatable manner, yet they effortlessly managed to do it. The audience appreciated the deliberate intention to use this medium strictly as a tool for alerting the consciousness. The Fire Crew delivered this while simultaneously exemplifying the talents and hard work which goes into any task to make it a success.

Jah Living Fire DJ Ngloss
In recap, an event such as this provides an occasion for healthy community contact, showcases the ongoing works of the volunteers, gifts the people the chance to inquire, exposes talents, opens trade opportunities, and sets more stepping stones for continued mutual development and growth.
The presentation
We are thankful for all the volunteers who, through grace and good intention open up their hearts and with it all their faculties and strengths that these works can be tended to. We are truly humbled to be a part of this.

Our invitation to you Dear reader, to join hands as we move forward, stands.

Forever Peace.


Sunday, 23 November 2014

RHYTHMS, RHYMES AND SEASONS

“Every labourer is a father, his labour his child. Choose your project wisely and achieve it worthily.
Once a man has decided on his life’s work and is assured that in doing the work for which he is best endowed and equipped, he is fulfilling a vital need, what he then needs is faith and integrity, compiled with a courageous spirit, so that no longer preferring himself to the attainment of his task, he may address himself to the problems he must solve in order to be effective.” H.I.M Haile Selassie I.

Nature has ways of articulating her rhythm, her heartbeat. In turn, everything rhymes with this flow and the course of events unfolds. Our willing oneness with this pulse determines whether we are within the order, or wallowing in chaos. Still, life’s cycle spins.

Torrential rains over the land
Things have gone full circle and the rains are here with us. How the heavens pour! It is time for the short rains. In this part of the tropics, there are two defined rain seasons, the ‘long’ and the ‘short’. The former commences mid-March running to early June, while the latter occurs between mid-October and early December.

The long rains signal the main planting season. During the short rains farmers may opt to sow, especially when the crop is not projected to go beyond the next February, when you have to be preparing for the next main season. Alternatively you plant crops which germinate with the short rains and fruit with the long rains, the annuals. Every opportunity of course allows for the planting of trees.
Volunteers planting lemon trees
Here at the Shiriki Organization farm in Maragua, Kenya, we glory in the commencement of a new season, and all it brings with it. We have gone ahead and planted every single inch of this soil, to ensure optimum utilization. Owing to the fact that we are not absolutely tied to seasonal crops, we strive to take full advantage of the showers, putting in new crops and embracing the boost to the growing and long term crops.

With these rains, we have planted cassava, sorghum, kidney beans, cowpeas, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, hibiscus, lemongrass, pumpkin, and various vegetables. We have also transplanted our ‘bush’ tomatoes and chillie seedlings. In addition, we have planted trees from our nurseries, including lemon, sour sop, jackfruit, tree tomato and moringa.
A patch planted with potatoes and banana
Already there were crops planted off-season, which we have been tending through irrigation. Among these are arrowroots, maize, cassava, sugarcane, sorghum and different vegetables.  Also growing are a variety of herbs, ginger, garlic, spring onion, coriander and more lemongrass. It is our intention to lease more lands with the next season to express the strengths with which we have been gifted.

Usually the most involving time on the land is when getting ready for a new planting session. It calls for tilling of the land, manure making and collection and seed preparation. As we continue restoring the natural state of land, we are also progressively inclining more towards conservation agriculture, where we will effect minimal disturbance of the soil as we plant. This will help preserve the minerals and organisms, which in addition to manure, mulching and crop rotation will ensure a more consummate ecosystem. There is less labour for the farmer too, as you don’t have to turn the soil on the whole farm or do massive weeding. Full mulching suppresses the weeds.

Mosaic team at work
After planting, when the rains are in full song, the farmer gets a respite from the farm work and one can concentrate on other endeavours, in our case, the arts. Currently the mosaic team is full steam ahead with a granite mural project. All the volunteers are fully engaged, weaving, making sandals, ornaments, cloth items and all the various other arts. Schools are out too, so there is no shortage of learners.
Young learners
During this period there are intensified efforts to reach out to art buyers, through, fairs, local and international markets, various marketing procedures and word of mouth.

Mandrill-finished mosaic art product
 It is also a season where the volunteers take time to organize events and exhibitions.These serve both as forums to share the various aspects of natural living with our communities, as well as provide opportunities for trading our arts. Music rhythms and rhymes galore.

This Dear Reader, is your official invitation…


LOVE and LIGHT always.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

COMMUNITY RELATIONS

“In this modern day, when material goals and selfish aims dominate the scene of human effort, this high professional ideal of self-sacrifice and selfless devotion to serving one’s fellow men may appear too remote, it’s demands too severe. But man is not meant to live for himself alone. He exists with others and for others, and it is this sense of social consciousness which distinguishes him from other beings.” H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Greetings of Love once again.

Volunteers at the Muranga Juvenile Home for young offenders, where we offer organic agriculture and art skills.
Ever since we have been here at Maragua farm, three years to be precise, the projection of our relations with the community has been nothing but remarkable. Intriguing even. You see, none of us was initially from around here. To say that the manner of our entrance, a ten-strong group of youthful males caused a stir would be a study in understatement.

Tree planting at the Home.
We had been offered this land, as community volunteers, to utilize for the common good of the many. The place had been laying fallow for the longest time. So we came in, strongly determined and pretty businesslike. We were not dressed in suits and ties either.

 Despite the initial suspicion from our collective hosts, we were not unduly worried. Our fortitude rested on divine guidance, the true intention of our hearts, as well as legal recognition through government registration.

Youth coming in to visit us...
The first link with this community was the innocent and adventurous children, who started visiting and found reason to keep coming back. Their parents were admittedly not keen, and there are lots of wild anecdotes on the ways they would strive to keep them away from us. As of today, the children have continued to appear at the farm in even larger populations, bringing their friends from further afield. What blessings!
...usually bringing goodies, in the ages old tradition of sharing.
Through this medium, the community members were inadvertently kept abreast with every aspect of our day to day runnings. Slowly, the ice started to thaw.

It happened naturally that we took time to first create something tangible on the farm, before we started our community outreach programs. Actions were bound to much more eloquent than words. However the daily interactions in the neighborhood, markets, and sharing of resources continued to bring us closer. Eventually, we started reaching out, especially to community institutions such as schools, hospitals, and public places to offer services and knowledge.
Volunteers teaching and learning in class
Today we have gained the trust of most people, from around and the wider community. They have embraced us and our ideas. This is not to say they have unreservedly ditched conventional farming and adopted organic agriculture which we espouse. They however do keep up with us, watching closely to see where we are going with what we do.
A tree planting session with the community.
The community has been a big support in terms of sustaining our arts. Currently it is considered neglectful for one not to own a pair of the sandals which we produce. Doors have been and continue to be opened for us in homes, community institutions, as well as in government facilities. Lots of visitors frequent the farm on a daily basis to learn and offer ideas. Exchange of original non-GMO seeds has been one of the highlights of these interactions.
Young youths helping out with sandal production.
It is a great joy, to be crowned sons and daughters of this community. Respect for all the people who had to bear with our initial ‘invasion’ and are now an added strength to our efforts. A special mention for the young ones who have graced us with their presence and continue to grow with us.

Sister Njoki weaving with some daughters from the community.
Thank you, dear readers for your unstinting appreciation. Arm in arm we march on…

MAY PEACE BE YOURS.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

CALL TO ACTION

"We know that unity can be and has been achieved among men of the most disparate origins, that differences of race, of religion, of culture, of tradition, are no insurmountable obstacles to the coming together of peoples." Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Greetings!
SHIRIKI, is a Kiswahili word which variously translates as '' to take part, participate, join in, share in, act in common, involve oneself”... you get the drift. It is a call to action, for ones to work in concert, so as to restore this earth and it's inhabitants to their original glory and majesty. Participation in what we and other like-minded people in the four corners of the globe are doing, we feel, is not a casual choice, but actually a natural obligation.
May I take this moment to give a brief breakdown of the situation on the ground so that one can discern ways in which to be a an active participant.
As you have gathered from the various updates, H.I.M Negus Shiriki Organization consists of a LIVICATED team of LIFE volunteers from all over the world, with a mission to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, nourish the sick, protect the infants and care for the aged . We are strictly non-religious, non -affiliated and non-economic mercenaries.
Volunteer Kristie, from Canada
We invite ones of the same heart, regardless of race, religion, gender or nationality to join hands with us in the tasks we have taken on. We mostly target to work with youth, to involve them in development issues. No `personal’ benefit is derived from what we do, yet, unbounded satisfaction comes from the knowledge that we are fulfilling our ultimate purpose. However, our works are progressive in all manner to the volunteers (members) and the public at large.
We have embraced work on different fronts.

With Agriculture, the main issues are re-establishing natural living, world food security, restoring land from the current chemically and environmentally degraded state, economic and social empowerment. Currently we have some three acres of land, on which we are working as a demonstration farm for natural agriculture. We have community outreach programs and are well recognized by the government administration and educational institutions. We also work closely with organizations which espouse the same values, such as Biovision, as well as individuals.
Sarah from Biovision helps build a compost heap
It is our intention to establish a full agricultural institution whereby youth, various farmers and people from all works of life can come and share knowledge. It will teach natural farming and living skills, arts, have farm based industries, cultural center, community radio and studios and a community hall. We are thus preparing volunteers through experience and education. We hope to continue sending more youth to college, so that they can qualify fornally as community educators. Currently we are making moves towards value addition and simple industry with the farm products, with an eye to spreading this knowledge amongst the communities we work with. The project will need bigger land when time is due.
We are open to receive volunteers at the farm.
Raksha and Daniella from the UK and Germany respectively
We have Education programs with different institutions and communities. Our efforts to reach out through media programs, school visits, seminars, farmer’s field days and other means continue to be effective and well received. Our latest education project is with the Muranga Juvenile home, where we will be sharing life, organic farming and art skillls with youth who are undergoing reahabilitation for delinquent behaviour. We are always looking to gather more teaching materials and aids, books, publications, presentation machinery such as projectors, laptops and so on.
More teachings
With Arts, we continue to produce artifacts of original and creative nature. The arts help instill patience among the youth, tap into natural talents, and provide an avenue for economic sustenance for those who are thus endowed. We share this knowledge through various forums and always keep an open door policy to those willing to learn. We seek more markets and exposure for these arts, as well as quality improvement suggestions.
A Sunday art class.
Musically, we continue to use this ancient medium as a powerful tool for community information sharing. It is our mandate to nurture talent and provide opportunities for exposure. One of the ways is organizing local and international events to bring people together. It behooves us to continue gathering more music and sound equipment to be effective. It is our on-going intention to enhance collaboration with like-minded artists and experts, and are happy to host those who wish to work in Africa.
Through Trade we get effective opportunities to interact with many people locally and across borders, and to exchange thoughts on real and tangible steps to lasting development. We get revenue to run the projects and set an example to the youth. We trade arts, farm products and products from our media and communication department. W e hope to carry on learning about the available trade opportunities so as to open them up for the work of talented youth, women and other productive community members.
The Media and Communications department is our link with the world at large. We have qualified volunteers producing documentaries, publications, connecting with mainstream media, and working the internet. Experts in this field are called upon to link up, so that we can enhance the available communication means. Well wishers are requested to donate any equipment which may be of help in this field.
Environment preservation and restoration is key to our work. In this field we have worked closely with the UNEP and other relevant organizations. Our environment endeavors involve public activities such as tree planting, cleanup exercises, community education forums, themed music concerts, use of natural products, organic farming and sharing of nutritional information.
Volunteers take a breather during a community clean-up exercise
Since the work targets all aspect of LIFE, there is no limit to the ways in which one can participate and contribute. It is actually our understanding that these are tasks and duties which befall humanity and thus coming together for this will not only create a better world but also provide a warm atmosphere for spiritual growth.
There are four levels of membership; individual, group, corporate and life. Please contact us on our e-mail address (shirikiorg@gmail.com), to learn about how you can join in as member, or to suggest ways in which you feel you can participate. You can also leave a message on our facebook page (Shiriki Kenya).
Perfect Love always.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

ART IS KEY

Our admiration for the Creator's handiwork should not be limited to those things He has provided us with for our daily needs, but should include all that is good and beautiful. It is these feelings of deep and silent admiration evoked from our hearts that should find adequate expression in the fine arts.” Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Blessed Love to All.

You will have noted our stated intention above, to utilize agriculture and art as the main keys to opening up the community towards a sustainable way of life. In this article, we explore ways in which application of art is proving crucial.
 Just as art is in every way in which Life divulges herself unto us, so it is in the way we express our perception of Life.

At Shiriki organization, every volunteer has the opportunity to bring out their artistic side. Some came in with the actual intention to enhance their already existing art skills, while others have pleasantly surprised themselves with their hitherto unexplored capabilities.

That art holds such a central position within the organization and amongst the individual volunteers is testament to various factors;
  • Art being a natural inclination within us, reveals itself through explicit awareness, or through the inner search, where you find a whole faculty lying dormant. 
  • Art is an universal reflexion of culture. Through carrying on the ancient traditions of artistic expression we maintain a cultured outlook, civilization. Sharing these skills generously ensures that this aspect is carried forward for the benefit of posterity.
  • Owing to the fact that worldwide there are people who appreciate art, it opens up the economic possibilities of trade.
  • Art has proven a reliable catalyst for social interaction, from whence unlimited vistas of cooperation open up before our very eyes.
The artists
At Shiriki Organization, we have been graced with various artistic skills. Among our products are clothing items, covering you head to toe; hats, scarfs, tee shirts, khaki suits, sweaters, skirts, belts, and shoes. Our sandal industry is especially progressive. Most of the items mentioned above are hand work, made through weaving, loom work, crotchet and screen printing. The sandals mostly incorporate recycled car tires.



Their products
Other art include mosaics and painting. We make the mosaics using various materials, organic and otherwise; plant fiber, seeds, ceramic tiles, glass, marble and granite. With these we do wall panels, walls, floors, flowerpots, vases, furniture and more. We take public and private commissions, size no limit. Currently the volunteers are making a forty square meter mural for a cathedral, out of granite .
Street art-making mosaics
The finished product- masaic on Parliament road. Nairobi
 The volunteers also make top level jewelery using locally available materials such as bamboo, seeds, fiber and natural stones. The items include necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings. Others are made from glass beads. Adorn yourself.
Handwoven bracelets
Graphic design is also a part of what we do. The various IT skills help us in the designing of clothes, posters and publications.

There are other art skills we may not have mentioned here. The volunteers are open to learn always. To teach too. We therefore have arrangements for sharing these skills especially with the youth. The lessons happen either through the learners coming to us, school programs or our outreach community visits.

Shiriki Organization, being a volunteer arrangement, means that it has been mainly up to the members to establish and maintain sustainability and organizational progression. Art has so far been the main means through which we earn economic sustenance. Out of this we are able to fund the day to day, as well as long term plans, from member contributions. Art has been without doubt key to our endeavors to uplift and raise consciousness among our communities.

Out of the foregoing, please note that any item of art you buy from us goes towards the operations of the organization as well as to the personal development of the artist. Currently we have opened up the local markets, where people are giving good support. We also attend trade fairs throughout the country, and hold exhibitions of our own. While we have been able to trade with a few international markets, this is still an area with much potential. Should you, Dear Reader, have any suggestions, do not hesitate to wise us up.

\Sample hand woven sandal
From our experience so far, there are unlimited opportunities for art to provide economic means to community members across the board. As long as youth can learn and develop art skills, there are openings.
Ras Otii waving a mat
 Most importantly, we have also been working with other artists, especially women, young and old, learning, providing materials and helping market their products. They make Kiondo bags, weave mats, crotchet work, sewing and even making clay beads. It is a big strength all round. Whoever thought such skills are still within our people, only lacking means of exposure?

In our next post, we shall expound further on the ways in which you can actively participate in the various tasks we have taken on.

Till then...AMANI.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

CHANGE OF WEATHER OR CLIMATE CHANGE?


Man's contribution's which live to influence the life and progress of posterity, are the most permanent monuments which can ever be created. We must become increasingly willing to examine our efforts, to experiment, to admit our failures as we take pride in our successes.” Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Greetings all, from rainy Maragua! Giving thanks for LIFE, ever precious.

A family meal
The farmer is rightly famed for wisdom. The esoteric quality of being able to read signs and seasons. The ability to determine the exact time for sowing, and subsequently reap a bounty and feed the nation. The oneness with the ordered nature.

What perchance happens, when the long-trusted weather patterns suddenly go haywire? Rains in February and the sun in July? Well, in this modern age, the suits and skirts rush into almighty countless conferences held in far flung venues, to debate the new 'climate change' phenomenon. The poor man's burden. But what about our wise farmer?

These are some of the issues confronting the tillers of the land, as we experience an unprecedented wet September, a month which is traditionally identified with scorching weather. In tandem with modern weather patterns in many parts of the globe, the continued mix up of seasons has many farmers in a mad rush. Not quite the normal dignified gait.
Tilling the land
Take this last February, for instance. We got rains in February, one and half months before the conventional planting season. No one knew whether the rains would continue or soon cease. Eventually, farmers ended up second guessing, leading to good harvests for some and woe for those who mistimed.
Ras Ambasa tends to sorghum
September is right after the harvest. Farmers have up to mid October to prepare for the new season, while drying up their grains and seeds in the abundant sunshine. Well, not anymore. It is already raining THINGS! You will now find groups of community members huddled by the roadside fiercely cerebrating on whether to plant or not. Because you cannot afford to buy seeds twice. Regardless they do have to buy seeds, having abandoned the old ways and embraced the laboratory seeds being distributed by government ministries and other sellers. The second generation of these seeds is usually too weak to replant.
Sowing
At the Him Negus Shiriki C. B. O's farm, it is fortunately not so much of a dilemma. This is for one, owing to the fact that we have inter-cropped the farm with a good variety of crops. The short-timers, seasonal, annuals, biennials, perennials and so on. This ensures that sowing and reaping is a continuous exercise, regardless of season. In contrast, many farmers have been caught up mono-cropping, inevitably maize around here, heavily relying on nature's inclination to keep time.

Providing employment for local youth
Secondly, we have maintained a policy of only planting original seeds which have not been interfered with. This way, as it has been for millenniums, we are able to replant the harvested seeds, crop after crop, to good effect. Through local, regional and international networks, we continue to uplift seed exchange and preservation endeavors.

Thirdly, irrigation. For the earth to restore a secure sustenance for it's inhabitants, it calls the farmers to liven up and install themselves on their land parcels throughout the year, as opposed to waiting for the seasons. This is through individual, communal and government efforts to ensure there is access to water, with which ones can farm. Wells, boreholes, reservoirs, dams and conscientious utilization of rivers and lakes.
Ras Nganga and helpers, preparing tree nurseries 
Meanwhile, on the nine o’clock news, the latest conference, to brainstorm the causes and solutions for the changing weather patterns. Cocktails after.

On the ground, the farmers just have to figure things out for themselves. Wisdom does get severely tested, yet you can always count on it to prevail. There are really no two choices to that.
Ras Seru with a Hibiscus harvest
May the rains shew countless BLESSINGS, upon you all, diligent servants of the life-nurturing soil.

PEACE.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

PROGRESS- AN APPRECIATION

"The people themselves must come to realize their own difficulties in the development of their community and try to solve them by collective participation following an order of priority and taking their potentiality into account. " H.I.M Haile Selassie I.
It is with full joy that we at Shiriki (H.I.M. Negus Shiriki Community Based Organization), take this opportunity to utter thanksgiving for continued well-being and tangible progress.
First to the Divine, the Infinite Intelligence that guides and orders LIFE.
The Volunteers
Shiriki organization represents the manifestation of the willing hearts of a number of youthful and courageous volunteers who have been brought together by a desire to be instruments of service. We have been graced with the strength to persist through the challenges and triumphs that such a choice brings. Our field of service is unlimited. However, we realize that through addressing issues relating to the basics-food, clothing and shelter, a foundation for a peaceful and ultimately livable earth are laid. We further recognize the paramount position of agriculture in the provision of these needs, which in themselves determine our very survival.
Unbounded appreciation for the efforts of the Shiriki volunteers who continue to keep this fire burning.

Volunteers

In subsequent posts, we shall be profiling the different volunteers, so that you may get to know them better.


Volunteers Kristie and Githaka enjoying a sugarcane break
The Mission

Having gained valuable experience working with communities in the Kibera slums of Nairobi and in the hot climes of Kitui, eastern Kenya, the year 2012 saw us embark on this mission, in Maragua, Central Kenya.
A well-wisher, who is a prominent world personality in the establishing of sustainable communities, offered us a three acre piece of land. This was in response to our wish to set up an institution where knowledge on natural farming methods can be disseminated. We heartily embarked on this endeavor, knowing that this will be an opportunity to continue learning, especially from practical experience and the traditional wisdom. To provide hope for the youth. To stoke the embers of long forgotten community cooperation and self-help and to demonstrate solutions on how people all over the world can take control of their own destiny.
This is an appreciation for all those who have supported and continue to strengthen these efforts in myriad ways.
Ras Ng'ang'a sharing skills
The Method

We came to this place with various educational experiences, practical knowledge and unrestrained zeal. Most of all, with an open mind. The PLAN, to utilize all we have on our side, especially day to day divine guidance, so as to stimulate a renewed push in this community towards a long term consciousness of their natural capacities and responsibilities. Thus eliminating the unfortunate scourge of hunger, disease and illiteracy, same of which plague man's efforts to live a fuller and healthier life.
Our task then involved the physical efforts of reclaiming this farm which had long been unused, imbibing crucial lessons along the way from the experience, from our neighbours' collective involvement on the land and from published information which would help restore this parcel as a natural food source. Without use of harmful chemicals, GMOs, all any other human efforts to circumvent and shortcut life's processes.
Ras Muthui tends to tomatoes

Our appreciation to the community here at Maragua, who have embraced us with so much love, and who continue to be most helpful and willing. Together we grow to higher heights still.


The Progress
It is now getting to three years since the Shiriki volunteers have been at the Maragua farm. Broken down, the first year was spent settling in, with all the hard physical labour to reclaim the land. Not to mention the day to day challenge of providing sustenance for a number of hungry volunteers. As well as integrating in a completely new environment.
Wambui and Kristie preparing cowpea greens for dinner
The second year involved much trial and error to identify the suitable crops for this land. Not just ones which can grow here, but those which have proved over generations to ensure long term food security, nutrition, favour the climate, replenish the soil other than drain it. Those that have capacity to be foundation raw material for local industries. For these purposes we identified ground foods like cassava, arrowroot, sweet potato, grains such as sorghum, legumes such as green gram, cow peas and pigeon peas. Other foods include local vegetables such as amaranth, spider herb, African nightshade, ' murenda' , mitoo and others. Hibiscus, Bananas, sugarcane and various fruits and fruit trees- passion, guava, avocado, mango, papaw. Herbs and spices, lemongrass, garlic, chillies, ginger, coriander and onion.
Ras Muchina plants papaw

The third year has been more settled, with the volunteers now taking time to green up the land with the aforementioned foods and enjoying a good supply of nourishment from the parcel. It also represents a period where we are reaping the benefits of good community relations, with the people, the government authorities, non-government institutions,schools and hospitals all willing and happy to work hand in hand with us. The period has also seen us receiving and working with more volunteers, especially local youth. The farmers from this and the wider community also continue showing great interest, and reaching out for knowledge and seed exchange.
Indigenous vegetables  (Mitoo)

The Position
The mood at the 'camp' is upbeat and determined as ever. The experience and the inner growth, adds a spring to a sure step. Dear Reader, do not hesitate to be a part of this energy, should it resonate with you.
Our current position is a readiness to take the project to the next phase. This is the where we address the issues of surplus, preservation of harvested food, and economic independence. It will be done through local industry, value addition. With the farm products we are now well placed to dry, mill into flours, bake, pack, juice, and trade.
Garlic and Sugarcane at the farm
For this, we will require certain facilities, including a food drier, baking oven, flour mill, and cane juicer. Currently the volunteers are researching on the suitable options for these, as well as raising the funds for their purchase. It is our intention that the model we are setting here be suitable for replication, both locally and internationally, so that working in concert, the world communities can continue to be sustainable and in harmony with our ecosystems.
We invite you to freely share your views and comments.
Thank you.


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